Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Easy Rivets- Tip to Try

Take your art to the next step…say no to glue…this is fun and easy to do.
 Choose the materials you wish to connect; this can be paper to paper, metal to metal, fabric to metal or any combination you can think up. As long as you can punch or drill a hole in it you can rivet it.  You will need: hammer, anvil, drill or hole punch, small nail (I use #17 wire brads) it must have a head on it and safety glasses.

Your first step is to put holes in your materials and line them up. Place the nail through the holes and place it nail head down on your anvil.

Put on your safety glasses! Clip the nail very close about 1/8” to the material.

Use your hammer to flair and smash the nail end. Start easy tap, tap, tapping and increase swings as the nail flairs. You will need to practice this, as with any technique practice will improve you project.

That’s it you now can make what is called a cold connection.
It really will take your work up a notch. People will say your work is riveting! If you like this post and “Tips to Try, please let me know with your comments, thanks for taking the time and reading our blog.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Question of the Month--What Process Calms You?

Our question for this month is "What artistic process calms you when you are stressed"?


That is easy--I just get out my journal or sketchbook and try to get really involved in a drawing or painting, and I find that stress melts away. I don't do this often enough, however, and find that in really stressful times, I actually tend not to make time for journaling, which eventually makes me cranky.


To deal with stress, repetitive activities help and getting lost in a project. I also like to work

on updating my calendar journal. It makes me realize how much I actually do in a month.


The artistic process of rhythmically chopping and slicing and dicing and mincing vegetables: white onion crescents and julienned carrots, glistening strips of bright red peppers piled high next to a chiffonade of fresh basil, cubed potatoes and coins of zucchini and fragrant gratings of ginger root, all of these calm me when I am stressed.


With the vintage watch parts and gears and pocket watches I have in my studio, there's always something to be assembled. So I sit at my studio workbench, grab a piece in progress and enjoy the relatively "mindless" task of final assembly of a "Steampunk Style" watch pendant. The act of using those microfasteners (tiny nuts and bolts) just removes all other thoughts from my mind.


What calms me is the rote work, mainly tearing and folding paper for text blocks. It also works to get me out of a funk if I’m feeling depressed. Being creative takes work, and energy, and unless I’ve centered myself I get frustrated and don’t like anything I produce. So, I start with the mindless and let it evolve into the next step after I settle into the routine.


I'd have to say some sort of brainless, repetitive action or task. Like knitting a simple pattern, easy quilt stitching, a bit of doodling or immersing myself in a artsy magazine or book with lots of photos.


I love to work with colors, spreading my acrylic paints on a big piece of white paper, making a rainbow of fuchsia, teal, orange, or quin gold and Indian hue yellow and complimentary colors. Also, I like to make a smoothie in my blender with other favorite colors, frozen pale pink and orange yogurts, peaches, strawberries and mangos, to drink while I paint.


When I'm stressed, I find that any repetitive art process helps calm me. Most recently, during a time when I had several art deadlines, I took time out to create a large batch of my hand collaged and painted business cards. After gluing on two postage stamps, I spread out the cards and began adding slashes of paint onto each card individually. It is so soothing and relaxing to add dabs of paint, walking back and forth along my work bench until all of the cards have a kaleidoscope of color!


I find it stress relieving to browse through my art books and art ideas folder. It takes my focus off my troubles and gets my creative juices flowing.


I think all art processes calm me. When I do art, I tend to slip into another world of a very focused nature and can close out whatever is going on in the real world. I have "blinders on." It's a place where I am totally happy and content.

My art process is totally intuitive. I don't spend a lot of time thinking about what I am going to do. Instead, I just do it...


The first thing that comes to mind is hand stitching, especially a sort of random filler stitch called "chicken scratches" or the repetition of a kantha stitch. They can put me in a sort of meditative trance. Jude Hill calls it "needle chanting," a phrase I love. But when I started thinking about it, I realized that anything that gets me focused on the process and really intensely paying attention to each step is highly calming for me. I get that feeling when I am really concentrating on drawing or painting--not always, but when it's a good day and I'm really present, the process becomes meditative.


Reading art blogs! Does that count, knowing I'm not alone in life struggles, helps me cope better...or sketching/doodling it gets my mind in a better place...


Beading relieves stress.


The artistic process that calms me is rhythmic and repetitive activity, like crochet or embroidery. A few people have told me that this kind of thing has an opposite effect on them. But I can get totally lost in just about anything that keeps my hands moving and allows the mind to wander where it will. Bliss!


Gawd I hate to admit this . . . cleaning and organizing. Then the paint seems to flow.

Just had a few more thoughts:

Since I’ve been working on my new business for the last 9 months and my brain has been in the work groove, an interesting thing has happened. Even when I have time for art, I’ve found it difficult to get started, and keep going. It’s a bit like work and not very satisfying. So I tried an experiment. I took a 5 hour block on a Sunday while my DH was watching the SuperBowl in between doing his own painting (strange man!) and I disciplined myself to stay with the process. It took a couple hours to get into the art groove again. Nothing looked good. I couldn’t think of what to do. But I kept nudging myself to do a little more. Then I took a break and watched Michael DeMeng . . . which made me smile. I tried some of his delicious acrylic washes. I looked through some magazines. I keep a journal of clippings of art pieces that really inspire me. . . . And finally I felt that thrill that I used to feel regularly. I made something quite wonderful. Here are images below. The experience made me keenly aware of what new artists and our students experience when their art groove is just getting established. . . Now I can’t wait to get back to the studio to try out some new ideas!


When I need to think or I’m feeling stressed I start a new project. A preliminary sketch looks like a doodle, but as the stress dissipates my sketch takes form. If that doesn’t work I start pulling the supplies I would need for the project and begin to arrange them. By this time I’m not thinking of anything but the project. Fortunately I don’t have an excess of stress unless it is how much time I spend in the studio then I need to start a new project to help that, oh the vicious circle.


I like to look at my stash of magazines or go to emails or blogs. I just relax and think about what I could do if I would just get down to it. Does anyone remember Larry Schoenberg's fishing show on TV on Sat evening? The music was by Tom Grant and he had recorded it, too, for the theme music. It was the most relaxing show I've ever seen on TV. Inspiring , even.

I love the altered book.com digests. What a treasure trove of ideas and instructions and links.


I am lucky enough to be a beader. (See profile below.) The actual work of beading requires the artist to be calm. Working up a pattern, counting the correct number of beads for fringe or going through the beads for the right one needs a steady hand and a focused mind. Before I get to my bead desk, I try to put all that "other" world stuff away and think beads.

Friday, February 11, 2011

February Giveaway By Stephanie Brockway

It's a fun coincidence that I have the pleasure of offering this months giveaway for PAC! I hand carved some flaming hearts for Guardino Galleries, Heart Show. The above one is about 4 inches and is wired, ready to hang on a wall. The "XO" is burned into the wood heart, a sweet message, for someone special or Yourself!
Here is the Gallery showcard, you can see one of my bigger hearts in the lower left hand corner. Or visit the Gallery website here

Part of the process involves shaping the hearts with my carving tools, after cutting out the heart shapes .

Here is a grouping of the different colors and messages. All you have to do is leave a message, and a random drawing is done at the end of the month. I'll mail it right to you!

Here is a wood figurine I just finished carving for an upcoming show, I'll be doing a whole puppet theatre...if you like you can take a peek or keep tabs on my progress. The opening details will be at the end of April, HERE

Thanks for Visiting.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Valentine's Day cards and teeny accordion booklets

I am always inspired by the creativity of the women in our group. For example, Robin creates amazing stuffed hearts which she decorates with little dabs of multicolored fabric and accents with beads, stitching and fibers. I told her that I was planning on creating some hearts of my own to send to my (single) girlfriends for Valentine's Day. Robin was excited for me and asked me to include photos of my work on this blog.
Well, the hearts never materialized but I did make cards inspired by Robin's hearts. I scrounged up some fabric and ribbons and sewed directly onto card stock. The free form collage and loose threads dangling hither and thither make me smile. For those who know me, this higgledy-piggledy style is way outside my box!
I made eight different cards but I could only post 4 of them because I have no idea how to rotate photos in here. Yikes, that learning curve is parabolic.

Tips to Try

I had a project that needed to look aged and didn’t want to take a lot time or materials to accomplish it. These methods can be used on almost anything from fabric to your favorite journal. I hope you find one you can apply to your art.
I cut the tags from an old book and stamped the words on it.
Next using wax from a red tea light I coated the paper. A bit of a mess.
I then burnt the edges to age it. They are now ready to punch a hole in.
The crowns are very inexpensive and were way to shinny. Easy fix was to use pliers to hold it over a flame. I like this look much better.
 The burlap was almost new I wanted it a little darker so  I soaked it in coffee and tea. The longer it sat in the coffee the darker it got.
I was impatient and pulled it to soon so I used some diluted paint as a light wash.

I would love to print on old paper but my printer just rips it up. So the next best thing to do is ruff it up with sand paper. I even sanded a hole to add authenticity. I also used Distress Ink and brushed it with a little water. Now I'm happy with it.
 I love building all the elements to a project but when you get to put it all together that's when the fun starts.
The label says "Our Lady of Abundant Inspiration" I hope this can inspire you to try to age a project of yours.